Founded as a bike rack brand in beautiful British Columbia, Swagman has always been passionate about not just creating the best way to transport bikes, but also about the rides themselves. Nestled in Penticton, BC, we’re fortunate to call one of the greatest biking destinations our backyard.
And what good are our local mountain bike trails if we can’t share them with the world? That’s why we partnered up with Visit Penticton and some of our favourite local breweries to put together this series: Swagman’s Backyard Ride Guide.
We’ll be showcasing the different riding zones on offer, giving you an insider’s guide on some of the best local lines, epic climbs, and scenic routes. Each Backyard Ride Guide piece will dive into a specific riding zone, sharing a little of what to expect, suggesting some routes, sharing our favourite trails, and of course, pairing up with a local brewery for the best spot to enjoy an apres pint.
So join us for Swagman’s Backyard Ride Guide, where every ride promises an adventure, and every adventure ends with a brew.
Words & Photos: Evan Wishloff
We’re starting things off with a trail network perched on a mountain overlooking the city of Penticton: Campbell Mountain. This gem of a trail network caters to all; from beginner-friendly loops to fast, exposed downhill descents, and more.
Flashback to 1995 – Penticton was buzzing with the BC Summer Games. The event left behind a legacy, one of them being a trail etched onto Campbell Mountain, part of the game’s mountain bike course. This historic line still echoes with the spirit of the Summer Games, but it’s far from all Campbell Mountain offers now.
Campbell Mountain serves up some of the flowiest trails in the vicinity. Expect a thrill ride with fast and loose corners, rollers, and berms. It’s the kind of place that invites you to let off the brakes and go with the flow.
Oh, and did we mention the views? Once you climb up and out of the trees, you’ll be greeted with expansive views of Okanagan Lake!
Be warned, the sandy demeanor of Campbell tends to lead to some two-wheeled drifting around corners, so you’ll either need to ride the slide, or keep your speed in check to navigate the tricky terrain. The silver lining to this sandy soil is its quick-drying nature. Campbell Mountain is one of the first trail networks to dry out in the spring, or after a rare summer rain shower.
You won’t find any black-diamond challenges at Campbell Mountain, however, don’t let that fool you. There’s ample fun to be had if you bring your A-game.
Swagman’s Recommended Ride – Campbell:
Distance: 15 km Vertical Ascent: 457 m
Customize your ride! If you’re looking to make the ride easier, pay attention to the optional green text below. If you’re looking to make your ride more challenging, pay attention to the optional red text.
Park your car at the main Campbell Mountain Trailhead parking lot, located on the corner of Reservoir and Spiller Road. Or make your ride Fuel Free and leave your car parked at your accommodations and ride right to Campbell Mountain!
You’ll be gaining your elevation on the climbs of Red Gate to Classic, Suffer’n to DQ, and Double Noodle.
Fun fact: the name Suffer’n to DQ comes from the old Dairy Queen table perched at a stunning lookout at the terminus of that climb. Don’t ask us how it got there, all we know is that it offers up the perfect spot to stop and take in the view!
With that climb out of the way, the fun begins on the fast and flowy Dave’s Whoop Trail.
Don’t miss the hard right onto Whoops to Lower Whoops, as the ride heads down toward some big canyon views.
South Canyon and Canyon Trail will keep you on your toes with some exposure off the side of narrow singletrack.
Make the ride easier: For those nervous about narrow, exposed singletrack, simply skip the turn-off of Dave’s Whoop Trail, instead riding it to its completion. Then ride Burnt Rock Rise, which connects into Canyon Trail past the areas with the most exposure.
A little bit of fire road awaits now before climbing again. Wankers is a steep, lung-busting climb that will get you near the top where it’s a short pedal on Chicken Noodle and Tower Road to get to the start of Campbell Mountain’s pièce de résistance downhill trail: Campbell DH.
Campbell DH is ultimate fun, featuring a variety of fast-bermed corners, jumps, and rollers. All features on the trail offer ride-arounds, so whether you want your wheels to stay on the ground or not, you’ll have a good time!
Campbell DH will take you close to the parking lot, where it’s a short pedal back down the beginning section of Red Gate to Classic to get back to your car.
Make the ride harder: If your legs haven’t given out yet, feel free to add on an extra loop for the full Campbell experience. Instead of turning right on Red Gate to Classic, head left, making your way to the Summer Games trail for one more lung-busting climb.
From there you can ride Lower Whoops, another flowy, bermy trail, before ending up on the canyon trails to once again head back towards your car.
In Penticton, there’s really only one way to celebrate the completion of your pedal, and that’s with a pint! When you’ve had your fill of Campbell’s fast and flowy fun, load up your bikes and head into town for a well-deserved brew and bite to eat at Cannery Brewing, one of Penticton’s oldest breweries.
They’ve been making beer in Penticton since 2001, and their family-friendly taproom is packed with great brews and tasty local foods. Even better yet, on a sunny day in summer, visit Cannery Brewing’s Backyard, a relaxing outdoor seating area complete with the same great beers, and a rotating food truck in residency.
Have you ridden our recommended ride? Let us know in the comments!
Stay tuned for more of Swagman’s Backyard Ride Guide, where we continue to explore the best that our local trails and breweries have to offer. For more information on mountain biking trails, craft breweries, and to plan your vacation to Penticton be sure to check out the rest of the www.visitpenticton.com website.
Help Maintain the Trails
The trails we ride and recreate on in Penticton are developed and maintained by community members, dedicated volunteers, and passionate bikers. It takes thousands of hours and incredible effort to keep trails open and safe for all bikers. When visiting or riding in a BC community, consider donating to the local trail club – through Trail Karma or directly to the club – and support those who work tirelessly to maintain the trails. Learn more and donate to the Penticton and Area Cycling Association (PACA) here.